Tigerair Australia (TT, Melbourne Tullamarine) will retire all remaining A320-200s by October 2020 and transition to an all-B737-800 fleet going forward, parent Virgin Australia Holdings announced in its half-yearly earnings report.

"I'm pleased we can accelerate the transition of Tigerair to an all B737 fleet which will help get the business into a better financial position moving forward," Chief Executive Paul Scurrah said.

The low-cost carrier currently operates nine A320-200s and six B737-800s, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows. Out of the A320s, two were already scheduled for phase-out this year. The new plan also foresees the other seven aircraft being retired by October 2020. In turn, Tigerair will receive an additional two B737-800s from sister carrier Virgin Australia (VA, Brisbane Int'l).

In addition to fleet transitioning and downsizing, Tigerair will also terminate five loss-making domestic routes. As of April 28-29, 2020, the airline will cease flying from Sydney Kingsford Smith to Adelaide, Coffs Harbour, and Cairns, from Melbourne Tullamarine to Coffs Harbour, and from Hobart Int'l to Coolangatta/Gold Coast.

"Short-term capacity reductions will be made on the Tasman in Q4FY20 [from April to June 2020] due to weakening demand attributable to coronavirus," the group added.

In total, Virgin Australia Group will reduce its total capacity for the period January-June 2020 by 3%. The holding estimates that the drop in demand caused by the COVID-19 epidemic will have a AUD50-75 million Australian dollar (USD33-49 million) impact on its financial results this fiscal year.

Scurrah also told Reuters that Virgin Australia Group was contemplating a new widebody order to transition to a single-type long-haul fleet. Currently, Virgin Australia operates six A330-200s and Virgin Australia International five B777-300(ER)s.

"We are doing an exploration at the moment. If the deal is worth doing, we absolutely want to do one this year, but it is too early to speculate," Scurrah said.

The group owns one A330-200 and four B777-300(ER)s, while the remainder of its widebody fleet is leased. Scurrah said that if Virgin Australia chooses to place a widebody order, it will target deliveries before the leases start expiring in 2024.